The Candida albicans quorum sensing molecule, farnesol regulates sperm motility

Lu, Xiangni (2019). The Candida albicans quorum sensing molecule, farnesol regulates sperm motility. University of Birmingham. M.Sc.

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Infertility affects 14-20% of reproductive-aged couples globally. Recently the microbiome composition of the genital tracts has been indicated in causing infertility. Candida albicans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen, and is a dominant cause of vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC). Vaginal colonization in mice models decreases fertility, although the mechanism for this is unknown. The aim of this project is to investigate how C. albicans affects sperm cells, causing undiagnosed infertility.

Quantification of sperm motility by computer assisted semen analysis (CASA) identified that co-incubation with C. albicans culture supernatants results in a significant decrease in motility and progressive motility, suggesting that C. albicans secretes molecules that affect sperm function. However, cultural supernatants from strains defective in the production of the fungal quorum sensing molecule, farnesol, did not affect sperm motility, indicating farnesol as the causative agent. Addition of exogenous mixed isomer farnesol induced a decrease in sperm motility which can be partially reversed by treating with IBMX to increase cytoplasmic cAMP concentration. Farnesol contains a double bond and is produced as four isomers. However, only the Z,Z-isomer inhibited sperm motility, while the E,E-isomers only displays quorum sensing activity. Therefore, the presence of C. albicans in the female reproductive may influence sperm motility through the secretion of farnesol, reducing the possibility of conception taking place increasing infertility rates.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Sc.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Sc.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Biosciences
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology


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